Welcome!

January 29, 2010

To navigate through the site, please use the tabs above. I’ve changed the layout and the navigation, hopefully you’ll find it easier. The years which were previously blog postings are now fixed pages. Let me know what you think of it. Anyone is free to post comments. Any images or imformation relating to the Ballroom, the bands that played there or Albert Bonici would be much appreciated.

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I know you’ll probably think I’ve been neglecting this blog but it’s been a time issue. That and the ease with which I seem to have spent far too long trying to stage this memorabilia exhibition at the Ballerina’s sister venue in Elgin. The Two Red Shoes was Albert Bonici’s first venue and played host to The Beatles on the first night of their first tour in Scotland. I do wonder what would have happened if the weather had not caused the cancellation of the scheduled gig the night before at the Longmore Hall in Keith!

I imagine I would have put up a blog for the Longmore Hall but instead I chose to add the Two Red Shoes blog to this one. Maybe it’s a crazy idea but Albert’s Elgin venue seems so totally different from the Ballerina. After The Beatles played there, the Two Red Shoes had three years of attracting some of the best bands on the circuit and then it slumped. By late 1966, when the Ballerina was really starting to take off, the Elgin venue was failing. In 1967, only two big name bands played there. Okay, one was Pink Floyd but Nairn attracted 10 major acts that year. By 1968, things were even worse with Albert presenting “exotic dancers” instead of name acts. Exotic dancers, in case you wondered, were strippers. Albert, ever the svengali, failed to tell the dancers that they couldn’t strip until they actually got to the venue and, needless to say, never even considered telling the press who he was really having onstage.

Still, it’s a legendary venue. Whether it deserves that status is anyone’s guess. My many weeks trying to set up the memorabilia exhibition did at least mean I could research all the bands that played Elgin but it doesn’t really make up for the wasted time. I think I’ve consigned the exhibition to history and have started to list some of the stuff on my main site. As I get more stuff up, I’ll add it to a page here so anyone that’s interested can look without fear that I’m using the main part of the blog to sell stuff.

Talking of blogs, I’ve decided to add a few more. Having been a compulsive list maker for more years than I care to mention, I have dates for most of the appearances at London’s Marquee Club, The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Fillmore East in New York and Glasgow Apollo. The only one with anything on it as yet, is marqueeclub.wordpress.com.

Back to this blog, just in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve added 1970 to the listings and have another three years that I just need to type in.

One last thing. Does anyone know where the bands that played the Ballerina stayed? Did Albert use an hotel or like Elgin, did he have a favourite boarding house? I was recently told that the Elgin landlady was shocked and totally disgusted at how dirty The Beatles were when they stayed with her but I didn’t manage to get her name, so couldn’t follow it up.

My apologies to anyone who looked in last night or earlier today expecting to see 1969 online. A long day and maybe a tad too much white wine took its toll. Anyway, it’s up now and can be seen by clicking on December 1969 in the Archives box to the right.

As before, I’ll be adding the video clips along with more photos either later today or early tomorrow.

Shannies has added a few more thoughts about his time with the Rebel Sounds. You’ll find it in the comments for About This Blog. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him. His comment about playing two gigs a night is something I think we forget. Everyone did it. The Beatles would sometimes play 3 different gigs a night and one at lunchtime in their days of playing The Cavern and even headlining bands would do it. I once had a poster for a Rolling Stones performance at the Flamingo Ballroom, Ballymena which they travelled to after playing the Ulster Hall in Belfast. Crazy days!

Take a look at the “Regular Bands” page for a great posting from James Shand or “Shannies”. I love his story about supporting David and Jonathan. It’s always amazes me the things that support bands saw and had to put up with. Shannies’ posting just goes to illustrate this.

I’m heading for the library in Nairn again and I’ll get my listings extended up to 1972 at least. The listing for 1969 will be online some time tonight.

The Rebel Sounds

August 21, 2008

I got a rather touching comment this evening from Drew Green, son of the late Benton who was a member of The Rebel Sounds. He asked if I could email him any photos or cuttings I have on the band but unfortunately all I have is on this blog.

I’m sure that some of the readers of this blog must have more than I do and possibly more important, memories of the band they might share with us and Drew. The blog was intended as a forum for memories and from my point of view it would be great to hear what people thought of The Rebel Sounds as they were obviously crowd pleasers or they would never have played the Ballerina so often.

Needless to say, my comment applies to anyone who played there. If you remember a group and enjoyed them, please share it with us.

After weeks of trying to get a rock memorabilia exhibition staged at the Ballerina Ballroom I will be holding one next week but it won’t be in Nairn. It will be at the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin, previously known as the Two Red Shoes Ballroom and once also run by Albert Bonici.

The problem that dogged the exhibition from the outset has been insurance and while I could see no way of dealing with that, there was a simple solution. I’ll be on hand when the theatre is open to answer any questions and maybe even sell something!

One other things is I’m considering running a similar blog to this or even adding an Elgin section to this one. While there would be little difference from 1966 onwards, the Two Red Shoes was playing host to bands from 1962. The Beatles, of course, played there in January 1963. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide.

The actual dates for next week have still to be worked out but I’ll post them here when I do. It also means I can get along to the library in Nairn and get the listing I need from 1970 onwards.

Find A Year

August 18, 2008

It seemed really confusing to have to scroll through every post to get to 1966 for example, so I’ve changed the blog layout. The box to the right of the postings will give the archives. If you want to see 1966, just click on December 1966 and you’ll get the complete year. Hope that makes life easier. If not, please tell me!